The Curse of Independence In Marriage...And How To Fix It

You have heard it said:  “Interdependence, not independence, is the secret of marriage.”

What is this deadly enemy of independence, and how does it silently worm it’s way into the best of marriages?

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In my 41 years of marriage, I have had to come back to this problem time and again.  Dependence is when I am unable to function without a spouse.  Independence is when I live like a single while married.

Paul said, “Nevertheless, in the Lord, woman is not independent of man, nor man of woman” (1 Cor. 11:11). 

What is this deadly enemy called independence?

1.    Setting my own time, agenda, and activities without my partner.

  • You cannot live like a single when married.  You are like the “one-legged race”:  two people but joined in one leg.  Trying to get ahead of or lag behind them is disastrous.
     
  • Stop making decisions, plans, and destinations without a joint discussion with all opinions equal.

2.   Failure to notice any problems or difficulties my spouse is facing.

  • When you are living independently, you are oblivious to your spouse’s situation.  It’s all about you.  They may be collapsing emotionally and you don’t have a clue. 
     
  • Treat them as “one flesh.”  You sure feel it when a needle touches YOUR flesh!  Ask the Lord to give you feelings the way they feel in any given moment, situation, or environment.

3.   Controlling the money.

  • Money is where independence REALLY shows up.  Do you always seem to splurge when it’s something you crave, but wickedly economize when it is something your spouse desires?
     
  • Make mutual financial decisions.  Get excited about buying them the best clothes, meal, or activity they would enjoy.  Trust me:  They WILL take care of your needs also.
Dependence is when I am unable to function without a spouse.  Independence is when I live like a single while married.
— Larry Stockstill

4.   Limited communication because I live in my own world.

  • Have you noticed that your spouse seems to have great fun when around others, but appears bored around you?  It may be that you have retreated into your own private “thought space” and are no longer fun to hang out with!
     
  • Get focused.  Share life as it happens.  Entertain each other with stories, memories, and funny observations.  Mental independence is what brings on the silent treatment.

5.    Always asking for more space. 

  • MySpace” was big a few years back…and look what happened to it!  I gave up “my space” when I got married.  Of course you need some private time but that is by mutual consent and agreement…not by argument and demand. 

6.    A spiritual confusion about roles in marriage.

  • At times Christian husbands are confused that as the “head” (1 Cor. 11:3) they are entitled to independent thinking, acting, and spending.  Not so.
     
  • We are EQUAL in Christ.  Even though the husband must make the final decision, he is dependent upon his wife’s counsel, advice, and experience before “pulling the trigger.”

Spend the first part of your day together.  Exercise together.  Spend money together.  Read together.  Grow together.  Watch movies together.  Vacation together.

After all, you are…one flesh.